Rabies is transmitted by exposure to the saliva or central nervous system tissue, from an infected animal, through a fresh open wound (such as a bite or scratch) or through contact of this material with a mucous membrane (such as by having this material splash into your eyes, mouth or nose). Keep in mind that the amount of body fluid contact or size of wound does not matter!

Any exposure must be reported immediately to the Health Department during business hours at 757-382-8672 or, after hours, to the Police non-emergency number at 757-382-6161.

Do not wait to see if you feel ill; by the time symptoms of rabies appear, it is too late!

Rabies Is 100% Fatal

If the exposing animal is a dog or cat, it will be confined for a 10 day observation period called a quarantine. If it does not survive the quarantine, it's brain will be tested. If the exposing animal is a wild animal, it will be sacrificed and its brain tested if captured. No test can be performed on a live animal.

If the animal is not found, or tests positive for rabies, the victim of the exposure will be advised to receive post exposure rabies prophylaxis treatment. This consists of 1 or more injections, depending on the weight of the person, of Rabies Immune Globulin, given in the buttocks, and possibly some into the wound site, if there is a wound. This is followed by 5 injections into the arm of Rabies Immune Vaccine, given over a 28 day period. Rabies vaccinations are not given into the stomach.


  • Report stray domestic animals to CASU at 757-382-8080.
  • Report sick or injured wildlife to CASU.
  • Vaccinate and confine your own pets.
  • Do not feed pets outside or leave food outside.
  • Keep trash containers securely closed and dispose of trash promptly.
  • Speak with your children and family about rabies.
  • Do not feed, touch, or approach any wildlife.

For more information, contact Chesapeake Animal Services Unit at 757-382-8080 or the Health Department at 757-382-8672 during normal business hours. After hours, contact the Police Department's non-emergency number at 757-382-6161.